Let’s Get Healthy

 

Let’s play a game.

What do all of the following promise?

Paleo, Low-carb, Keto, Jenny Craig, and the Simply Fit Board.

You guessed it….the next secret to YOUR dream body. Or so they claim. Do you ever wonder if people stood a chance at being healthy before we had the aid of all these products, or short-term diets?

I do. And in my biased opinion, I’m willing to bet that it didn’t take a pyramid scheme for people to achieve a sufficient level of fitness. Education (or absence of some product) is often not the problem. The problem is the action! CONSISTENT ACTION!!!

At 413 Fitness, we are advocates of something a little bit old school.

We call it KISS Nutrition. Keep It Simple Stupid. All too often, people ask us about going “low-carb,” or about The Whole 30. They are overwhelmed with questions from what foods are allowed, to “How many grams of protein should I consume per pound of lean body mass?”

Really guys? I am really into being healthy and those things drag me down just thinking about them. Even worse, I am convinced that this has caused a very negative relationship with food and how we interact with it. From the amount in which we consume to even the way we talk about it. Some of you avoid certain foods like I would try to dodge the black plague.

The very first and single-most important thing we urge EVERY SINGLE PERSON to do is start drinking more water! If you’ve been looking for a miracle drug, this is it!! Water. And lots of it! Your body will thank you for years to come just for remaining hydrated 24/7. We train several urologists and even those guys don’t drink enough water. Come on guys! Get it together!!!! Water is God’s gift to Earth. It is usually free most places and contains zero added ingredients. So whether you are looking to save money, feel better, or even aid your digestion…

DRINK MORE WATER.

Okay, on to what you really want to know about. Food.

We challenge you to consider food as fuel for your body. God created all things perfectly and I don’t consider it wise to deprive our body of any macronutrients (fat, protein, carbs)necessary for optimal bodily functions (clarity in thought, level of energy, strength, alertness, etc). The first number anybody should concern themselves with is their “Caloric Intake.” Track your calories and activity by using an app like My Fitness Pal. And then…..Keep It Simple Stupid!

If you want to gain weight, eat more calories than you burn in one day. If you want to lose weight, eat fewer calories than the amount you burn. And if you are absolutely a die-hard “by the numbers” person, then here is the next number you can think about.

One (1) pound of body fat is equal to 3,500 calories. I’ll even do the math for you. Losing one pound a week can be done by being in a calorie deficit of 500 calories every day. Boom.

At the end of the day, most people aren’t going to be impressed by these fancy statistics and facts. And most people probably haven’t even read this far. But it really is simple to start living healthier.

Drink more water and be aware of how much fuel your body needs.

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Let’s Get Healthy

Strength Training For The Endurance Athlete

Triathlete

“Train to survive the training”

At 413 Fitness, our endurance athletes train to become stronger, yes; but, really our main objective is to simply make it to the starting line. It’s been reported that anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of people training for an Ironman will face an overuse injury each season, depending on who you ask. No matter what the exact percentage is, it seems to be extremely high and should be avoided. The good news is, we have some basic training principles that can help you prepare for all aspects of your training: from the warm-up, to time spent in the gym, and even your recovery. The following will guide you to a healthy race season.

 

First things first. The warm-up! It is common for many people (not just endurance athletes) to avoid doing any kind of warm-up. And no, doing ten minutes of “light” cardio on an elliptical just doesn’t suffice. We LOVE the dynamic flexibility routine to prepare the body before ANY and ALL workouts. Whether it is a swim in the pool, a 5 mile run, or a strength session in the gym, this routine will leave you warm and sweaty by the time you finish. This warm-up is different than traditional stretching because it is done while standing and while moving in multiple directions. An important philosophy we incorporate is to train while standing. This is great for everybody because a couple things happen from the standing position versus seated strength based exercises. We become stronger from the ground up; this means all of our smaller, accessory muscles strengthen our ankles, knees, and hips. Additionally, we only move through ranges of motion that we can stabilize compared to the traditional “sit and reach” to stretch the hamstrings through an exaggerated range of motion that we will never get into while running, cycling, swimming, etc. Download our sample dynamic flexibility routine here.

 

Next, we will dive into the movement mechanics of a sound training program. There are a hundred and one different recommendations on how to periodize your training regiment from reps, sets, recovery time, etc. This is not that article (I’ll leave that to your coach; if you don’t have a coach, go check out Mike Hermanson). In this, I want to educate you on movement mechanics to improve your efficiency and get the most bang for your buck while hitting the gym.

 

Before throwing a bunch of exercises at you, I think it would be more valuable to educate you on WHY we pick certain movements opposed to others. Our training philosophy is to “lengthen the front, and strengthen the back.” As an athlete, we should focus on posterior-dominant strength exercises to build our muscles that provide the horsepower! Our big three movers I am referring to here are the hamstrings, glutes, and lats. These are the muscles that are responsible for propelling us forward; from hip extension while running, to a strong pull in the pool. Above all else, we want to emphasize compound movements (sometimes referred to as multi-joint exercises) that are loaded unilaterally. This means that one arm or leg is working independently of the other. An example of this could be any lunge variation, or a squat with a one arm dumbbell press. Unilaterally loaded exercises are great because they challenge the core to stabilize our range of motion compared to bilateral exercises in which both arms or legs are doing the same movement at the same time.

 

Leading into training the core, we need to come to an agreement on what the core does and how it is loaded while performing. In short, it primarily is responsible for stabilizing the spine and transferring force between the upper and lower parts of the body. (For a slightly more in depth explanation of core strength, read here.) Having said that, our primary core strength exercises do not involve crunches or Russian twist variations. Our basic core stiffness exercises revolve around deadbugs and anti-rotational presses. Learning how to stiffen the core will help significantly in maintaining a forward lean during your run and improving your streamline position in the water.

 

Finally, we come to the nitty gritty of training and talk about the two small things that will really make the difference in your training season.

 

I call it the poor man’s massage therapist, others call it self myofascial release. Drum roll please…ladies and gentleman, I present to you the foam roller! It only takes 5 – 10 minutes a day and provides a laundry list of benefits from: increasing blood flow to muscles, connective tissues, and nerves, to restoring proper length (as some call it removing the “knots” in your muscles). It is really common for most people to hold a lot of tightness in their hips, so spending some time on the roller can help alleviate hip and back pain, as well as alleviate knee pain often caused by IT Band Syndrome. For a quick demo on how to foam roll your lower body, click here.

 

Last, but certainly not least, I want to leave you with the best advice for everybody to adopt. HYDRATE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT! Drinking plenty of water throughout the day (everyday) will improve your recovery, give you more energy, improve your digestion, allow you to think more clearly…the list goes on. If you are a serious endurance athlete, you have probably been informed on the importance of proper hydration. Without getting in depth on calculating the number of ounces per pound, multiplied by your activity level, and dividing by age….just drink plenty of water. How much? A gallon. And carry a gallon with you. Having a clear visual like this is the single best method to maintaining your hydration and monitoring how much you’ve drank without keeping some sort of tally.

 

For your convenience, below is a basic total body program for you to adopt in your training. The following program should take less than a half hour to complete from starting with the foam roller to finishing your strength circuit.

 

Foam Roll: 5 – 10 minutes

Dynamic Flexibility: 5 minutes

Core Activation: x 2 rounds
Deadbugs x 10
Glute Bridges x 10
Side Planks x 30 sec/side

5 rounds for time:
Alternating Reverse Lunges x 14
Standing One Arm Cable Press x 10e.
TRX Row x 15

 

For more information on how you can become a better athlete, feel free to reach out to me via email at blake@413fitness.net or by calling (812)989-4776.

 

Strength Training For The Endurance Athlete

Hydrate Like Your Life Depends On It

HydrateIf you know one thing about me, it’s probably that I own a fitness facility. If you know a second thing about me, it is that I carry a jug of water with me all the time (well…enough to adequately hydrated on a consistent basis).

 

To some people, it looks ridiculous. My dad can’t stand it when I bring it in to church with me. However, it serves a couple benefits for me; first, it is a visual indicator of how much water I have (or haven’t drank) AND provides some pretty unique opportunities to educate people on why I think it is so important when they ask why I would carry such a large object.

 

Key facts about water

-Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body depends on water to operate.

-If you are thirsty, your body has already reached a state of dehydration and is only able to respond to this scenario. Thirst is not a predictor of dehydration. Thirst is an indicator. Some people can even feel hunger pains when they are dehydrated!

-Water molecules are used in the process of creating adenine triphosphate (ATP), or what most people refer to as “energy.” It makes sense for me to assume that with less water, your body will not be able to go about this process as smoothly.

-Water is used heavily in the digestion process in the breakdown and delivery of nutrients.

-Water is what your cartilage absorbs to create cushioning between joints for pain-free movement. If cartilage does not retain water, it shrinks and can lead to bone on bone contact.

 

How it dehydration affects us most

  1. Poor blood circulation, as it becomes less “fluid.”
    –> All nutrients and other important cells are transported via our circulation system within our body. It is like the highway transportation system. If blood circulation is slowed, this means your body cannot fight infections efficiently due to immune cells not being transported in great numbers.
    –> It is because of this that dehydration is suspect as a leading cause of urinary tract caners. These include kidney, bladder, and prostate cancers.
    –> If your blood is not circulating efficiently, that means your heart has to do more work to still deliver everything your body needs.

 

  1. Wouldn’t it be nice to magically have a more sustainable source of energy throughout your day; something without the side effects of consuming too many RedBull or Monsters?

 

  1. With more energy do you think you could live a happier and more active lifestyle?                  –> For example, if a potato chip factory is low on the amount of oil necessary to create their product at its finest, they can still operate and sell their product, but it isn’t as good as it could be. The same can be said for your body, if you are under hydrated, you can still function and go about your daily business, but it is not going to be the same compared to what it could be.

 

  1. Remaining adequately hydrated will actually help to curb your appetite. So, drinking water can be a great place to start for people looking to lose weight!

 

 

“A gallon a day keeps the doctor away.” – Blake Bramer

Hydrate Like Your Life Depends On It

Don’t Make Resolutions, Make Decisions

scooby

At the end of 2015, I had just finished The Power of Positive Thinking and I liked the way it sounded. My expectation of what a life of positivity would cultivate excited me. So, without any better judgment, I defined what my core values would revolve around.

My governing principles, if you will.

By doing this, it became much easier for me to make decisions when faced with a fork in the road; it brought upon new opportunities; and it has been my hands-down best-year-ever! If you have not thought about putting your main beliefs, values, and goals on paper….DO THIS NOW. A few of my agreements are as follows:

  • Prioritizing my happiness based on “My Big 3” on a 1 (least) to 13 (most) rating of satisfaction for my Faith, Family, and Fitness.
  • Surround myself with great people. I sought out people who I admired. If there is a person that I want to connect with, I invite them into them gym and ask if I could help them with their physical fitness. BAM. Win-win situations are what I like.
  • I define my success into a tangible number expressed by the following relationship:

     (the number of talents I actively utilize)   _
(the total number of talents I am blessed with)

  • In the first point, I mentioned “My Big 3,” but there is actually a fourth F in the equation… Any guesses? If finances were your answer, you are correct. Having said that, it is important and beneficial to value them in this order. If money is the goal, you will not be happy. Not if you make 20k; not even if you make 200k. Because there will always be somebody that is making more than you. But I made it my business to produce way more smiles in my line of work. And these are my favorite currency!
  • In case you skipped over a bit of the last section, I will say it again. Being generous in all that I have has led to a completely different way of viewing things. Mentoring my buddy Teddy has not only led to him smiling more often, but also opened up the possibility of me competing on American Ninja Warrior in the near future. That’s worth getting excited about, right?!!
  • Tithe generously, not comfortably. Another financial one? Really? Yup. Since tithing regularly I have seen more blessings in my relationships, business, and in people surrounding me much more often.
  • Invest wisely. I am not talking about the stock market. I am talking about investing into myself. I prioritize the day so I have time to exercise and continue to educate myself. It takes a very mentally active person to think proactively and live a healthy lifestyle; however, it is easy for anybody to live based solely off reactions and come to a considerably unhealthy state. We all have the same 24 hours, the difference is in how we chose to spend them.

Making these changes may be hard. So what’s the single best step to starting on yours? Get an accountability partner. Whether you pay for a business coach, or even have a really, really, really close friend, they need to be able to give you unbiased truths for the purpose of your benefit and happiness. (Pictured above is my best accountability partner, who goes by the aliases: Scooby, Fred, Sket, and The Captain)

Don’t Make Resolutions, Make Decisions

How Do You Train?

413 Mentality

Social media has now overtaken society and now we can see more of people’s actions and ventures than many of us care to; however, one thing that always makes me happy is seeing friends and family posting pictures of themselves after a workout or talking about their fitness journey that they are about to begin. It makes me think back to when I first started getting into fitness quite seriously and putting in some long hours at the gym. All in effort to attain that certain, jello-like feeling when attempting to walk out of the gym. Oh, how we all hate love that feeling!

When I first began, I was obsessed with what a “pump” felt like and how sweaty I was upon leaving. However, there came a time when I got bored of the same, monotonous routine. I started to see less and less results and the workouts became more of a task, instead of something I looked forward to doing. It was around this time I met one of my soon to be best friends, Dustin Barton. He invited me to do a workout with him in the gym the following day and began educating me on how to be a bit more mindful while in the gym. Improved technique soon followed and my capabilities to perform varying exercises increased exponentially! We used many different rep schemes and pieces of equipment (not just machines, but also jump ropes, kettle bells, boxes, rowers, med balls, etc.)

It wasn’t long before I was switching out of nursing and into exercise and fitness. I knew this was where I wanted to be. Soon after, I got my first job as a personal trainer at a local facility. I began to learn the anatomy of a workout and how to give purpose to each one. All of the sudden I was obsessed with thinking of ways to pair movements that contrasted well with one another and more importantly, learning why I picked certain exercises. All is well to be in the gym, but I now believe that a purposeful workout with a bit of intensity for 20 minutes can be exponentially more beneficial than two hours doing the same routine week in and week out.

After getting comfortable creating hard workouts for myself, I had to start putting together better workouts for my clients that were tailored to what they needed. It got me thinking how most general fitness clients want two things: to feel good in their bodies and be able to move in a pain free manner. However, most lifestyles don’t support this “feel good movement” pattern. As a society we are constantly looking down at our phones in an effort to keep up with emails and respond to your text messages. I’ve also come to notice that we sit…a lot. Driving to work, in front of your computer (or at school), while eating lunch, on the way back home, again for dinner, and finally relaxing on the couch before calling it a day. What does this mean for you?

Well, it means that you simply need to counterbalance this at every opportunity you have; unless, of course, you are okay with having a hunch back at the age of 60. The good news is this can be done in the gym with a little bit of forward thinking and planning. Showing up to the gym without a plan is a guaranteed way to cut yourself short and typically avoid doing exercises you don’t love.

My training philosophy is simple: “Lengthen the front, and strengthen the back.” This means the mirror muscles that you’ve been training may actually be working against you after all. I’m not saying you should skip chest day (Monday…obviously), but I am saying that you should aim for two pulling exercises for every push/press. Another commonality in my clients’ workouts is compound types of movements. Think of total body exercises such as a “squat & press” or a deadlift.

Below is a basic, sample program for you to follow next time you are in the gym from the warm-up to your finisher.

 

Warmup
-The following movements are to be done standing (working laps around a track works great if your gym is short on open space!)

High Knee Hugs x 5 each
Lunges x 10 each
Inchworms x 5
Leg Cradles x 5 each
Lateral Shuffle x 10 strides
Karaoke x 10 strides each direction

Row machine: 200 meters – 1,000 meters

Working Sets
-These groups of exercises are to be done as supersets, with minimal rest between movements. Perform each round three times through before moving on the next grouping.

Dumbbell Squat & Press 3×6-10
Stagger One Arm Row 3×15
Deadbugs 3x8e

Split Lunges 3×6-10e
Dumbbell Bent Over Row 3x12e
Russian Twists 3x10e

Cable RDL 3×15
T-Rotations 3x10e
Hip Stretches/Mobility 3x5e

Finisher
-Here we want to really jack your heart rate up and get you comfortable being out of breath! So work hard for a small interval (20 to 30 seconds) and then take two or three times as long to rest (60 to 90 seconds).

Heavy Ropes 4×20 seconds

 

 

 

Last, but not least, it is important to keep in mind that the workouts are meant to be challenging, yet fun. The moment you lose interest in your routine is the exact moment when you are most likely to fail at making it back to the gym. Find a buddy that will be your accountability partner, or better yet, find a trainer that you work well with and will do a good job at keeping you excited to come back.

 

For more information on how to progress your workouts or ways to switch up your current routine, reach out to me at blake@413fitness.net.

How Do You Train?

25 Things About Your Trainer

 

1. The biggest factor in my success has been my increasingly growing faith, but I am still shy to talk openly with most people about it so I don’t come off as a Bible Thumper.
2. My favorite nickname is from my little sister when she calls me Bubby.
3. I nicknamed my girlfriend Scooby.
4. My favorite super hero is Ironman, but I couldn’t tell you DC or Marvel.
5. Turning left on red is one of my top 5 favorite things to do.
6. I don’t look forward to every workout, and lately I had been really struggling to consistently work hard during my time in the gym.
7. Making that decision every day drives my urge to better myself in many other areas of my life.
8. I attend a Men’s Leadership Bible study at Southeast on Tuesday mornings. (Unrelated…they also serve free chic-fil-a during this study)
9. I always look forward to Tuesday mornings.
10. I don’t believe in Karma. I believe in God recognizing all of your continuous acts of generosity.
11. One of the main reasons I was able to start 413 Fitness was due to Dad moving me back in and living rent free to help minimize expenses. Thanks, Dad.
12. My favorite way to bond with people is while exercising, particularly outdoors…playing Ultimate Frisbee.
13. Most days I drink two gallons of water. (Bonus: most people are chronically dehydrated; water is the most basic need of the human body for any bodily process/function. Drink more water AND TELL ME how much your life improves.)
14. I gave up drinking soft drinks my freshman year of high school because one of the seniors on the soccer team didn’t drink them at one of our team dinners.
15. Owning a gym probably isn’t my number one dream occupation. Snowboarding in the backcountry, waist deep in snow gets me too excited!
16. I think my sister is going to be the perfect cat-lady when she is 40. Except with more than just cats. Like, a lot more. (She is happily employed at the Cincinnati Zoo while attending UC for her bachelors. I’m super proud of her!)
17. My favorite album is Dark Sky Paradise (Deluxe edition) by Big Sean. There isn’t one song on there that doesn’t resonate with me or make me happy in some way.
18. I still have all four of my grandparents at the age of 24. I feel very blessed to be able to have gotten to know them and having their influences in my life.
19. Writing is not a hobby. In fact I force myself to do it just so I stay in habit of operating outside of my comfort zone.
20. Forgetful is my middle name. If it doesn’t get written down, it doesn’t get done.
21. Scooby is the best girlfriend, secretary, lifting buddy, motivator, best friend, and chef that a guy could ask for.
22. I wish people would call me the fitness doctor. Then I would prescribe – 5 minutes of mirror time – every day! With the idea to be mindful of the choices you make on a daily basis and conscious of how they make you feel.
23. My sweet tooth is the size of Manhattan. (Slight exaggeration, but you get the idea)
24. Coming into the field of fitness I was positive that my target population would be high school athletes. Now I have come to find that I really enjoy training general fitness clients and seeing their perspectives and attitudes change. The moment when they start to see progress and find more self confidence. That is my favorite part.
25. Making handfuls of money is not the reason for opening the business. I want people to come to find a healthier lifestyle and spread positivity into the people around me. It just so happens that I was blessed with the opportunity to do so in my home town, in my own space. And that is priceless to me.

25 Things About Your Trainer

Five Fun Ways to Switch Up Your Workout

Believe it or not, even as a fitness coach, I too find myself getting stuck in a rut at the gym. Burnt out on doing the same exercises over and over again, and not having as much fun. I will always workout to tell myself I’m doing something; but when I am training with a small group of people, it is not only more fun, but I usually push myself to work harder. Unfortunately for me, there isn’t always a line of people waiting around to get a lift in with me. So, listed below (in no particular order) are my top five ways to switch it up from the normal routine!

 

  1. “Luck of the Draw”
    20160404_104138

Tired of doing the same 3 sets of 10? Grab a deck of cards and test your luck for reps. A = 11, Face cards = 10

I suggest two ways: first, you pick a weight that you would be comfortable using for 10-12 reps with and shooting for at least 5 sets of a single exercise. Alternatively, you can pick a few exercises and draw a different card for each!

 

  1. Complex

If you have heard of a superset before, a complex is like his big brother. Complexes are a great way to exercise because they can become very challenging not just physically, but also mentally! These typically combine four to six exercises done with the same piece of equipment (dumb bells, TRX, barbell, kettelbell, medicine balls, etc.) and all back to back. Here is an example of one of my favorite dumb bell complexes from Michael Boyle!

5 Cleans
10 Squat + Overhead Press
10 Hip Hinges
10 Bent Over Rows
10 Push-ups

 

  1. Alternating Movements

It is also very common for most exercises to be performed bilaterally. In English this means that both arms and legs are doing the same motion at the same time. But when we move in our normal activities, it is actually quite the opposite. Check out this video to see how you can take common core exercises to a new, challenging exercise!

 

  1. Intervals

On a crunch for time and still in need of a sweat? No worries. Interval training is right up your alley. My favorite interval for classes is 30 seconds of work followed by a 15 second rest period. Pick anywhere from 4 to 6 different exercises that use different muscle groups; this way you won’t exhaust yourself in the first round. Short, one minute breaks between rounds! (Remember about being short on time? Keep the intensity high!)

Here is a quick list to find an interval timer for you. Google Play Store or iTunes Store

 

  1. Pick a theme

Clients love it when we have a theme for the day. Pick a workout that is centered around a certain piece of equipment (like heavy ropes or kettle bells), or even doing “The Big 3” type of workout where we focus on bench, squats, and deadlifts.

 

 

Have fun with the workouts and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box for ideas. Just as you can use a deck of cards, you can also roll some dice. (I may have been to the casino a few too many times!) If you have more questions or interested in online personal training, send an email to blake@413fitness.net and we can talk in more depth about how I can help!

Five Fun Ways to Switch Up Your Workout